The Truth About Ava Jerome's Mother On General Hospital

What some viewers might not know about Delia Ryan (Ilene Kristen) is that before she appeared on "General Hospital," her character was a fixture on the popular '70s soap "Ryan's Hope."

The show was set in Washington Heights, the first time a soap had been located in a real place, and centered around two iconic families—the blue-collar Ryans and the wealthy Coleridges. Delia was one of the breakout stars of the show and was known for being hot-headed, dramatic, and a bit of a trouble-maker. She was first introduced as the wife of one of the three Ryan sons, Frank (Michael Hawkins). In one of the first few episodes of "Ryan's Hope," Frank asks Delia for a divorce and she pushes him down a flight of stairs. This would turn out to be pretty normal behavior for her (via Us Magazine).

Decades after "Ryan's Hope" stopped rolling, Ilene Kristen brought back her iconic blonde hair and tough attitude as Delia to "General Hospital" in 2013, where she was revealed to be the biological mother of Ava Jerome (Maura West).

Delia Ryan's many lovers

Though Delia and Frank did eventually divorce (as they were both having affairs with Coleridge siblings), it wasn't the last time Delia is involved with one of the Ryans. Delia reconnects with her first love, Frank's brother Pat (Malcolm Groome), and after she seduces him and gets pregnant, the two marry. This marriage doesn't last very long as Delia hides a miscarriage, fakes some mental breakdowns, and karma bites her when Pat pushes her down a flight of stairs (via IMDb).

After that disaster, Delia reconnects with her ex Roger Coleridge (Ron Hale). The two marry but eventually get divorced when Roger suspects Delia of cheating on him with her stock broker. Then, Delia sets her sights back on the Ryan family and begins dating Frank and Pat's cousin Barry (Richard Backus). After discovering that Barry was having an affair of his own, Delia ran him over with her car, effectively ending their relationship.

Delia was then forced out of town after she lost her business to a local gangster and reappeared a year later, married to a wealthy oil magnate Matthew Crane (Harve Presnell). However, this relationship also falls apart when Delia is discovered having an affair with Steve Latham (Franc Luz). She relocated again, this time to California and didn't appear on the show until two years later in 1986. In her final act of manipulation, Delia steals ex-husband Roger Coleridge back from his pregnant wife and the two are married a second time, just days before the final episode of "Ryan's Hope" aired (via IMDb).

Considering Delia's complicated romantic history, it's no surprise that she might have given birth to a child that never appeared on "Ryan's Hope" — even if writers had to cook it up decades later.

Ava Jerome is Delia Ryan's long-lost daughter

When "GH" character Sam McCall (Kelly Monaco) discovers that her biological father is a mobster named Julian Jerome, she goes on a mission to find out more information about her family — starting with finding out if she's related to Ava Jerome. Sam, along with Ava's baby-daddy Silas Clay (Michael Easton), take off to NYC in search of Ava's mother.

The two find Delia bartending at Ryan's Bar (a staple set of "Ryan's Hope") and after some prodding, she reluctantly admits to them that she once had an affair with notorious mobster Victor Jerome and that she gave birth to Ava as a result, though she didn't raise her (via Soap Opera Network).

Delia explains that she dated Victor prior to her first marriage to Frank Ryan, but broke up with him when she found out he was involved in organized crime. She gave her daughter up for adoption knowing she wouldn't be able to take care of her. Ava located Delia years later, and although thrilled with the news that she was the long-lost daughter of a powerful mobster, she didn't have much interest in a relationship with her mother.

Delia and Ava scheme against Sonny

In July 2014 Ava invites her mother Delia to Port Charles to enlist her help. Ava, pregnant either by Sonny Corinthos (Maurice Benard) or his son Morgan Corinthos (Bryan Craig), is being held hostage by Sonny in his home. His intention is to keep an eye on her until the baby is born, when he will be free to kill her in retaliation for Ava killing Connie Falconeri (Kelly Sullivan).

Concerned that her daughter is in danger, Delia goes to stay with Ava at Sonny's home. The two women concoct a plan to steal a flash drive that contains incriminating evidence on Sonny so Ava can use it as leverage to save her own life.

Delia is able to obtain a key to Sonny's office at the Metro Court, but unfortunately gets caught before she can steal the flash drive. She's discovered by Olivia Falconeri (Lisa LoCicero) and Ava inadvertently gives away their plan over the phone. A furious Sonny has Delia escorted back to NYC (via ABC).

Delia helps Ava hide in plain sight

After Ava gives birth to Sonny's daughter she is arrested for Connie's murder. After breaking out of prison, Ava is shot and presumed dead (via Soap Central). In actuality, she is rescued by Silas Clay who helps rehabilitate her in secret.

Back in good health, Ava asks her mother for help once again — this time she's in need of a disguise. She returns to Port Charles with a dark-haired wig and a new name: Denise DeMuccio. Ava assumes this new identity in an effort to see and spend time with her two daughters while avoiding both the police and Sonny. However, in a rare moment where characters recognize physical similarities between other characters, everyone is convinced that Denise is Ava. Delia shows up in Port Charles to double down on the story, claiming that Denise and Ava were twins (via Soap Central). Unfortunately for Ava, the citizens of Port Charles weren't as keen to believe her story as they were with other sets of "GH" twins, and the truth quickly came out.

This was the last time Delia appeared on "General Hospital" to date, though one can never rule out a surprise return. Even 30 years after her run on "Ryan's Hope" ended, Delia proved herself to be the same magnet for trouble that she always had been. Like mother, like daughter.